The Odd One Out
Copyright © 2015
by Gary Conder
All Rights Reserved
by Gary Conder
All Rights Reserved
The unexpected death of one's parents could be considered the most traumatic event in any young life, diverting one's perception of their future, their roll in society into a singularity. Polarising thoughts into numbing despair but Colt wasn't fazed. He did have to learn how to purchase his own food, wash his clothing and manage a bank account but he had been left with more than enough capital to maintain a comfortable life style without ever having to perform a day's labouring. As for cooking, many years of preparing his own meals had given him an edge with culinary skills and as long as his meals consisted of meat and three vegetables and simple puddings he managed quite well
It had been a warm sunny Sunday, not that Jillian or Stan had perception of the day. In their strange unregulated life style, every day was a Sunday, or a Monday or what ever day they wished it to be. It could be Christmas day in September because the weather changed to cold, reminding them of their Festive Seasons spent somewhere in Europe, or Easter in January as someone they knew had died and the almost nonexistent spark of religion within them brought about thoughts on the death of Christ.
On this sunny Sunday they did have knowledge of the day as a gentle western breeze brought with it the faint sound of church bells and the scent of Sweet Pittosporum flowers.
"We should go to church," Jillian suggested and Stan agreed and both spent the following half hour in an attempt to persuade Colt to join them.
"Come on Russell, it will do you good." Jillian encouraged.
"Colt, a man has to service his soul." Stan declared enthusiastically, his face beaming bright with anticipation.
"No thanks I have to attend to the new foals." Colt protested, having no wish to service his soul as he believed he lacked such an item.
Colt's parents had split personalities, or to be more objective, split life styles, at home they were erratic but once in town, sobering to become homogenised with town folk and family alike.
Stan's eyes would humorously twinkle, his handle-bar, light tan to grey moustache would twitch, as he joined in conversation on any level that was offered, while Jillian would belly laugh at the slightest opportunity. Giving one the courage to believe they were a normal well adjusted couple, raising a well adjusted son, in a well adjusted environment.
Those Sunday's church bells had changed Colt's life for ever. He watched as Jillian fussed over her best Sunday dress and his father searched for just the right tie to match the just correct shirt with his just correctly chosen suit.
At first Jillian emerged from the bedroom appearing as a reject from some opportunity shop but with a disapproving shaking of Stan's head she returned to her room, reappearing minutes later dressed simply and in the style that was almost suited for a morning in church. Finally they were ready and again Stan gave encouragement for Colt to join them, once again receiving a definite and most negative response. In the lad's thinking, it would be hypocritical to attend a ritual he did not believe in. Besides if god was fact and in his heaven and prayer effective, why would it be necessary to attend some archaic function to be heard, why not in the field, or in bed or if it came to that, while seated on the toilet, or having sex.
"Which domination shall we attend this time?" Jillian asked while searching through her bag for the necessities for a morning's outing, as there would be coffee and conversation afterwards.
"Catholic I should think." Stan suggested, turning his attention away from his unsuccessful encouragement towards his son, who watched silently from his distance, arms folded, without further comment.
"I don't think so; we didn't like their service last time, too much fuss, too much god how about the Methodists?"
The Church goers were still arguing about which domination they should attend, as they took their seats in the car and were in full flight on approaching the bridge. Stan, locked in the excitement of the debate, momentarily took his eyes from the gravel road, hitting the bull-dust at its edge which changed the angle of the vehicle's approach to the bridge. He attempted to brake, instead pushed his foot firmly down on the accelerator pedal, sending the vehicle into a sidewards skid before hitting the bridge, then with a howl of rotting timber and screaming of metal on wood the vehicle was through the safety rails and into the fast flowing spring flood water below.
Colt watched the episode developed from the house verandah. He believed he could hear his parents arguing as they approached the bridge and could still do so once the vehicle was submerged. He hurried to the scene of the accident but could do nothing. Standing in disbelief as the sky blue Citroen with the wire wheels and added spoiler to its rear bobbed innocently within the tide, until it disappeared around the first bend in the river, then the second and was gone.
Some days later they found the vehicle but it was empty. The remains of Stan and Jillian were never found, only Jillian's hat snagged on a low hanging branch some distance past the water soaked Citroen but a memorial service was given and well attended. While in honour to their charity efforts, a plaque was erected at the local cemetery, followed by the planting of an honour tree.
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